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Addiction, Abuse, And Misuse
DURAGESIC contains fentanyl, an opioid agonist and a Schedule II controlled substance. As an opioid, DURAGESIC exposes users to the risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse [see Drug Abuse and Dependence]. As modified-release products such as DURAGESIC deliver the opioid over an extended period of time, there is a greater risk for overdose and death due to the larger amount of fentanyl present.
Although the risk of addiction in any individual is unknown, it can occur in patients appropriately prescribed DURAGESIC and in those who obtain the drug illicitly. Addiction can occur at recommended doses and if the drug is misused or abused.
Assess each patient's risk for opioid addiction, abuse, or misuse prior to prescribing DURAGESIC, and monitor all patients receiving DURAGESIC for the development of these behaviors or conditions. Risks are increased in patients with a personal or family history of substance abuse (including drug or alcohol addiction or abuse) or mental illness (e.g., major depression). The potential for these risks should not, however, prevent the prescribing of DURAGESIC for the proper management of pain in any given patient. Patients at increased risk may be prescribed modified-release opioid formulations such as DURAGESIC, but use in such patients necessitates intensive counseling about the risks and proper use of DURAGESIC along with intensive monitoring for signs of addiction, abuse, and misuse.
Opioid agonists such as DURAGESIC are sought by drug abusers and people with addiction disorders and are subject to criminal diversion. Consider these risks when prescribing or dispensing DURAGESIC. Strategies to reduce these risks include prescribing the drug in the smallest appropriate quantity and advising the patient on the proper disposal of unused drug [see PATIENT INFORMATION]. Contact local state professional licensing board or state controlled substances authority for information on how to prevent and detect abuse or diversion of this product.
Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression
Serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression has been reported with the use of opioids, even when used as recommended. Respiratory depression from opioid use, if not immediately recognized and treated, may lead to respiratory arrest and death. Management of respiratory depression may include close observation, supportive measures, and use of opioid antagonists, depending on the patient's clinical status [see OVERDOSAGE]. Carbon dioxide (CO2) retention from opioid-induced respiratory depression can exacerbate the sedating effects of opioids.
DURAGESIC is indicated only in opioid tolerant patients because of the risk for respiratory depression and death. While serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression can occur at any time during the use of DURAGESIC, the risk is greatest during the initiation of therapy or following a dose increase. Closely monitor patients for respiratory depression when initiating therapy with DURAGESIC.
To reduce the risk of respiratory depression, proper dosing and titration of DURAGESIC are essential [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. Overestimating the DURAGESIC dose when converting patients from another opioid product can result in fatal overdose with the first dose.
Accidental exposure to DURAGESIC, especially in children, can result in respiratory depression and death due to an overdose of fentanyl.
A considerable amount of active fentanyl remains in DURAGESIC even after use as directed. Death and other serious medical problems have occurred when children and adults were accidentally exposed to DURAGESIC. Accidental or deliberate application or ingestion by a child or adolescent will cause respiratory depression that can result in death. Placing DURAGESIC in the mouth, chewing it, swallowing it, or using it in ways other than indicated may cause choking or overdose that could result in death. Improper disposal of DURAGESIC in the trash has resulted in accidental exposures and deaths.
Advise patients about strict adherence to the recommended handling and disposal instructions in order to prevent accidental exposure to DURAGESIC [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome
Prolonged use of DURAGESIC during pregnancy can result in withdrawal signs in the neonate. Neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, unlike opioid withdrawal syndrome in adults, may be life-threatening if not recognized and treated, and requires management according to protocols developed by neonatology experts. If opioid use is required for a prolonged period in a pregnant woman, advise the patient of the risk of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and ensure that appropriate treatment will be available.
Neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome presents as irritability, hyperactivity and abnormal sleep pattern, high pitched cry, tremor, vomiting, diarrhea and failure to gain weight. The onset, duration, and severity of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome vary based on the specific opioid used, duration of use, timing and amount of last maternal use, and rate of elimination of the drug by the newborn.
Interactions With Central Nervous System Depressants
Hypotension, profound sedation, coma, respiratory depression, and death may result if DURAGESIC is used concomitantly with alcohol or other central nervous system (CNS) depressants (e.g., sedatives, anxiolytics, hypnotics, neuroleptics, other opioids).
When considering the use of DURAGESIC in a patient taking a CNS depressant, assess the duration use of the CNS depressant and the patient's response, including the degree of tolerance that has developed to CNS depression. Additionally, evaluate the patient's use of alcohol or illicit drugs that cause CNS depression. If the decision to begin DURAGESIC is made, reducethe starting dose, monitor patients for signs of sedation and respiratory depression, and consider using a lower dose of the concomitant CNS depressant [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
Use In Elderly, Cachectic, And Debilitated Patients
Life-threatening respiratory depression is more likely to occur in elderly, cachectic, or debilitated patients as they may have altered pharmacokinetics or altered clearance compared to younger, healthier patients. Monitor such patients closely, particularly when initiating and titrating DURAGESIC and when DURAGESIC is given concomitantly with other drugs that depress respiration [see Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression].
Chronic Pulmonary Disease
Monitor patients with significant chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or cor pulmonale, and patients having a substantially decreased respiratory reserve, hypoxia, hypercapnia, or preexisting respiratory depression for respiratory depression, particularly when initiating therapy with DURAGESIC, as in these patients, even usual therapeutic doses of DURAGESIC may decrease respiratory drive to the point of apnea [see Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression]. Consider the use of alternative non-opioid analgesics in these patients if possible.
Head Injuries And Increased Intracranial Pressure
Avoid use of DURAGESIC in patients who may be particularly susceptible to the intracranial effects of CO2 retention such as those with evidence of increased intracranial pressure, impaired consciousness, or coma [see Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression]. In addition, opioids may obscure the clinical course of patients with head injury. Monitor patients with brain tumors who may be susceptible to the intracranial effects of CO2 retention for signs of sedation and respiratory depression, particularly when initiating therapy with DURAGESIC, as DURAGESIC may reduce respiratory drive and CO2 retention can further increase intracranial pressure.
DURAGESIC may cause severe hypotension including orthostatic hypotension and syncope in ambulatory patients. There is an increased risk in patients whose ability to maintain blood pressure has already been compromised by a reduced blood volume or concurrent administration of certain CNS depressant drugs (e.g., phenothiazines or general anesthetics) [see DRUG INTERACTIONS]. Monitor these patients for signs of hypotension after initiating or titrating the dose of DURAGESIC.
Interactions With CYP3A4 Inhibitors And Inducers
Since the CYP3A4 isoenzyme plays a major role in the metabolism of DURAGESIC, drugs that alter CYP3A4 activity may cause changes in clearance of fentanyl which could lead to changes in fentanyl plasma concentrations.
The concomitant use of DURAGESIC with a CYP3A4 inhibitors (such as ritonavir, ketoconazole, itraconazole, troleandomycin, clarithromycin, nelfinavir, nefazadone, amiodarone, amprenavir, aprepitant, diltiazem, erythromycin, fluconazole, fosamprenavir, verapamil) may result in an increase in fentanyl plasma concentrations, which could increase or prolong adverse drug effects and may cause potentially fatal respiratory depression. Carefully monitor patients receiving DURAGESIC and any CYP3A4 inhibitor for signs of sedation and respiratory depression for an extended period of time, and make dosage adjustments as needed.
CYP450 inducers, such as rifampin, carbamazepine, and phenytoin, may induce the metabolism of fentanyl and, therefore, may cause increased clearance of the drug which could lead to a decrease in fentanyl plasma concentrations, lack of efficacy or, possibly, development of an abstinence syndrome in a patient who had developed physical dependence to fentanyl.
If co-administration is necessary, caution is advised when initiating DURAGESIC treatment in patients currently taking, or discontinuing, CYP3A4 inhibitors or inducers. Evaluate these patients at frequent intervals and consider dose adjustments until stable drug effects are achieved [see DRUG INTERACTIONS, and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Application Of External Heat
Exposure to heat may increase fentanyl absorption and there have been reports of overdose and death as a result of exposure to heat. A clinical pharmacology study conducted in healthy adult subjects has shown that the application of heat over the DURAGESIC system increased fentanyl exposure [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Warn patients to avoid exposing the DURAGESIC application site and surrounding area to direct external heat credits [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Patients With Fever
Based on a pharmacokinetic model, serum fentanyl concentrations could theoretically increase by approximately one-third for patients with a body temperature of 40°C (104°F) due to temperature-dependent increases in fentanyl released from the system and increased skin permeability. Monitor patients wearing DURAGESIC systems who develop fever closely for opioid side effects and reduce the DURAGESIC dose if necessary. Warn patients to avoid strenuous exertion that leads to increased core body temperature while wearing DURAGESIC to avoid the risk of potential overdose and death.
DURAGESIC may produce bradycardia. Monitor patients with bradyarrhythmias closely for changes in heart rate, particularly when initiating therapy with DURAGESIC.
A clinical pharmacology study with DURAGESIC in patients with cirrhosis has shown that systemic fentanyl exposure increased in these patients. Because of the long half-life of fentanyl when administered as DURAGESIC and hepatic metabolism of fentanyl, avoid use of DURAGESIC in patients with severe hepatic impairment. Insufficient information exists to make precise dosing recommendations regarding the use of DURAGESIC in patients with impaired hepatic function. Therefore, to avoid starting patients with mild to moderate hepatic impairment on too high of a dose, start with one half of the usual dosage of DURAGESIC. Closely monitor for signs of sedation and respiratory depression, including at each dosage increase. [see DOSING AND ADMINISTRATION, Use In Specific Populations and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
A clinical pharmacology study with intravenous fentanyl in patients undergoing kidney transplantation has shown that patients with high blood urea nitrogen level had low fentanyl clearance. Because of the long half-life of fentanyl when administered as DURAGESIC, avoid the use of DURAGESIC in patients with severe renal impairment. Insufficient information exists to make precise dosing recommendations regarding the use of DURAGESIC in patients with impaired renal function. Therefore, to avoid starting patients with mild to moderate renal impairment on too high of a dose, start with one half of the usual dosage of DURAGESIC. Closely monitor for signs of sedation and respiratory depression, including at each dosage increase [see DOSING AND ADMINISTRATION, Use In Specific Populations and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Use In Pancreatic/Biliary Tract Disease
DURAGESIC may cause spasm of the sphincter of Oddi. Monitor patients with biliary tract disease, including acute pancreatitis for worsened symptoms. DURAGESIC may cause increases in the serum amylase concentration.
Avoidance Of Withdrawal
Avoid the use of mixed agonist/antagonist (i.e., pentazocine, nalbuphine, and butorphanol) or partial agonist (buprenorphine) analgesics in patients who have received or are receiving a course of therapy with an opioid agonist analgesic, including DURAGESIC. In these patients, mixed agonist/antagonist and partial agonist analgesics may reduce the analgesic effect and/or may precipitate withdrawal symptoms.
Driving And Operating Machinery
Strong opioid analgesics impair the mental or physical abilities required for the performance of potentially dangerous tasks, such as driving a car or operating machinery. Warn patients not to drive or operate dangerous machinery unless they are tolerant to the effects of the DURAGESIC.
Patient Counseling Information
Advise the patient to read the FDA-approved patient labeling (Medication Guide and Instructions for Use).
Addiction, Abuse, And Misuse
Inform patients that the use of DURAGESIC, even when taken as recommended, can result in addiction, abuse, and misuse, which can lead to overdose or death [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Instruct patients not to share DURAGESIC with others and to take steps to protect DURAGESIC from theft or misuse.
Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression
Inform patients of the risk of life-threatening respiratory depression, including information that the risk is greatest when starting DURAGESIC or when the dose is increased, and that it can occur even at recommended doses [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Advise patients how to recognize respiratory depression and to seek medical attention if breathing difficulties develop.
Inform patients to keep DURAGESIC in a secure place out of the reach of children due to the high risk of respiratory depression or death. [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
DURAGESIC can be accidentally transferred to children. Instruct patients to take special precautions to avoid accidental contact when holding or caring for children.
Instruct patients that, if the patch dislodges and accidentally sticks to the skin of another person, to immediately take the patch off, wash the exposed area with water and seek medical attention for the accidentally exposed individual as accidental exposure may lead to death or other serious medical problems.
Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome
Inform female patients of reproductive potential that prolonged use of DURAGESIC during pregnancy can result in neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, which may be life-threatening if not recognized and treated [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Interactions With Alcohol And Other CNS Depressants
Inform patients that potentially serious additive effects may occur if DURAGESIC is used with alcohol or other CNS depressants, and not to use such drugs unless supervised by a healthcare provider.
Important Administration Instructions
Advise patients never to change the dose of DURAGESIC or the number of patches applied to the skin unless instructed to do so by the prescribing healthcare professional.
When no longer needed, advise patients how to safely taper DURAGESIC and not to stop it abruptly to avoid the risk of precipitating withdrawal symptoms.
Warnings About Heat
Warn patients of the potential for temperature-dependent increases in fentanyl release from the patch that could result in an overdose of fentanyl. Instruct patients to contact their healthcare provider if they develop a high fever. Instruct patients to:
- avoid strenuous exertion that can increase body temperature while wearing the patch
- avoid exposing the DURAGESIC application site and surrounding area to direct external heat credits including heating pads, electric blankets, sunbathing, heat or tanning lamps, saunas, hot tubs or hot baths, and heated water beds.
Driving Or Operating Heavy Machinery
DURAGESIC may impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks (e.g., driving, operating machinery). Instruct patients to refrain from any potentially dangerous activity when starting on DURAGESIC or when their dose is being adjusted, until it is established that they have not been adversely affected.
Advise women of childbearing potential who become, or are planning to become pregnant, to consult a healthcare provider prior to initiating or continuing therapy with DURAGESIC.
Additive Effects Of Alcohol And Other CNS Depressants
Instruct patients not to use alcohol or other CNS depressants (e.g. sleep medications, tranquilizers) while using DURAGESIC because dangerous additive effects may occur, resulting in serious injury or death.
Advise patients of the potential for severe constipation.
Instruct patients to refer to the Instructions for Use for proper disposal of DURAGESIC. To properly dispose of a used patch, instruct patients to remove it, fold so that the adhesive side of the patch adheres to itself, and immediately f lush down the toilet. Unused patches should be removed from their pouches, the protective liners removed, the patches folded so that theadhesive side of the patch adheres to itself, and immediately flushed down the toilet.
Instruct patients to dispose of any patches remaining from a prescription as soon as they are no longer needed.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, And Impairment Of Fertility
In a two-year carcinogenicity study conducted in rats, fentanyl was not associated with an increased incidence of tumors at subcutaneous doses up to 33 μg/kg/day in males or 100 μg/kg/day in females (0.16 and 0.39 times the human daily exposure obtained via the 100 mcg/h patch based on AUC0-24h comparison).
There was no evidence of mutagenicity in the Ames Salmonella mutagenicity assay, the primary rat hepatocyte unscheduled DNA synthesis assay, the BALB/c 3T3 transformation test, and the human lymphocyte and CHO chromosomal aberration in-vitro assays.
Impairment Of Fertility
The potential effects of fentanyl on male and female fertility were examined in the rat model via two separate experiments. In the male fertility study, male rats were treated with fentanyl (0, 0.025, 0.1 or 0.4 mg/kg/day) via continuous intravenous infusion for 28 days prior to mating; female rats were not treated. In the female fertility study, female rats were treated with fentanyl (0, 0.025, 0.1 or 0.4 mg/kg/day) via continuous intravenous infusion for 14 days prior to mating until day 16 of pregnancy; male rats were not treated. Analysis of fertility parameters in both studies indicated that an intravenous dose of fentanyl up to 0.4 mg/kg/day to either the male or the female alone produced no effects on fertility (this dose is approximately 1.6 times the daily human dose administered by a 100 mcg/hr patch on a mg/m² basis). In a separate study, a single daily bolus dose of fentanyl was shown to impair fertility in rats when given in intravenous doses of 0.3 times the human dose for a period of 12 days.
Use In Specific Populations
Fetal/neonatal Adverse Reactions
Prolonged use of opioid analgesics during pregnancy for medical or nonmedical purposes can result in physical dependence in the neonate and neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome shortly after birth. Observe newborns for symptoms of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, such as poor feeding, diarrhea, irritability, tremor, rigidity, and seizures, and manage accordingly [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Pregnancy C: There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. DURAGESIC should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
The potential effects of fentanyl on embryo-fetal development were studied in the rat, mouse, and rabbit models. Published literature reports that administration of fentanyl (0, 10, 100, or 500 μg/kg/day) to pregnant female Sprague-Dawley rats from day 7 to 21 via implanted micro osmotic minipumps did not produce any evidence of teratogenicity (the high dose is approximately 2 times the daily human dose administered by a 100 mcg/hr patch on a mg/m² basis). In contrast, the intravenous administration of fentanyl (0, 0.01, or 0.03 mg/kg) to bred female rats from gestation day 6 to 18 suggested evidence of embryo-toxicity and a slight increase in mean delivery time in the 0.03 mg/kg/day group. There was no clear evidence of teratogenicity noted.
Pregnant female New Zealand White rabbits were treated with fentanyl (0, 0.025, 0.1, 0.4 mg/kg) via intravenous infusion from day 6 to day 18 of pregnancy. Fentanyl produced a slight decrease in the body weight of the live fetuses at the high dose, which may be attributed to maternal toxicity. Under the conditions of the assay, there was no evidence for fentanyl induced adverse effects on embryo-fetal development at doses up to 0.4 mg/kg (approximately 3 times the daily human dose administered by a 100 mcg/hr patch on a mg/m² basis).
Chronic maternal treatment with fentanyl during pregnancy has been associated with transient respiratory depression, behavioral changes, or seizures characteristic of neonatal abstinence syndrome in newborn infants. Symptoms of neonatal respiratory or neurological depression were no more frequent than expected in most studies of infants born to women treated acutely during labor with intravenous or epidural fentanyl. Transient neonatal muscular rigidity has been observed in infants whose mothers were treated with intravenous fentanyl.
The potential effects of fentanyl on prenatal and postnatal development were examined in the rat model. Female Wistar rats were treated with 0, 0.025, 0.1, or 0.4 mg/kg/day fentanyl via intravenous infusion from day 6 of pregnancy through 3 weeks of lactation. Fentanyl treatment (0.4 mg/kg/day) significantly decreased body weight in male and female pups and also decreased survival in pups at day 4. Both the mid-dose and high-dose of fentanyl animals demonstrated alterations in some physical landmarks of development (delayed incisor eruption and eye opening) and transient behavioral development (decreased locomotor activity at day 28 which recovered by day 50). The mid-dose and the high-dose are 0.4 and 1.6 times the daily human dose administered by a 100 mcg/hr patch on a mg/m² basis.
Labor And Delivery
Opioids cross the placenta and may produce respiratory depression in neonates. DURAGESIC is not for use in women during and immediately prior to labor, when shorter acting analgesics or other analgesic techniques are more appropriate. Opioid analgesics can prolong labor through actions that temporarily reduce the strength, duration, and frequency of uterine contractions. However, this effect is not consistent and may be offset by an increased rate of cervical dilatation, which tends to shorten labor.
Fentanyl is excreted in human milk; therefore, DURAGESIC is not recommended for use in nursing women because of the possibility of effects in their infants.
The safety of DURAGESIC was evaluated in three open-label trials in 289 pediatric patients with chronic pain, 2 years of age through 18 years of age. Starting doses of 25 mcg/h and higher were used by 181 patients who had been on prior daily opioid doses of at least 45 mg/day of oral morphine or an equianalgesic dose of another opioid. Initiation of DURAGESIC therapy in pediatric patients taking less than 60 mg/day of oral morphine or an equianalgesic dose of another opioid has not been evaluated in controlled clinical trials.
The safety and effectiveness of DURAGESIC in children under 2 years of age have not been established.
To guard against excessive exposure to DURAGESIC by young children, advise caregivers to strictly adhere to recommended DURAGESIC application and disposal instructions [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Clinical studies of DURAGESIC did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.
Data from intravenous studies with fentanyl suggest that the elderly patients may have reduced clearance and a prolonged half-life. Moreover, elderly patients may be more sensitive to the active substance than younger patients. A study conducted with the DURAGESIC patch in elderly patients demonstrated that fentanyl pharmacokinetics did not differ significantly from young adult subjects, although peak serum concentrations tended to be lower and mean half-life values were prolonged to approximately 34 hours [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Monitor geriatric patients closely for signs of sedation and respiratory depression, particularly when initiating therapy with DURAGESIC and when given in conjunction with other drugs that depress respiration [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
The effect of hepatic impairment on the pharmacokinetics of DURAGESIC has not been fully evaluated. A clinical pharmacology study with DURAGESIC in patients with cirrhosis has shown that systemic fentanyl exposure increased in these patients. Because there is in-vitro and in-vivo evidence of extensive hepatic contribution to the elimination of DURAGESIC, hepatic impairment would be expected to have significant effects on the pharmacokinetics of DURAGESIC. Avoid use of DURAGESIC in patients with severe hepatic impairment [see DOSING AND ADMINISTRATION, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
The effect of renal impairment on the pharmacokinetics of DURAGESIC has not been fully evaluated. A clinical pharmacology study with intravenous fentanyl in patients undergoing kidney transplantation has shown that patients with high blood urea nitrogen level had low fentanyl clearance. Because there is in-vivo evidence of renal contribution to the elimination of DURAGESIC, renal impairment would be expected to have significant effects on the pharmacokinetics of DURAGESIC. Avoid the use of DURAGESIC in patients with severe renal impairment [see DOSING AND ADMINISTRATION, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Last reviewed on RxList: 1/6/2017
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